SD adult-use cannabis initiative approved to gather signatures

SD adult-use cannabis initiative approved to gather signatures

Last November, South Dakota voters chose to legalize cannabis for adult-use. A clear majority approved Amendment A, a ballot initiative “to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and require the South Dakota State Legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022.”

The will of the voters was overturned three months later, but the fight continues.

According to court documents, opponents of the adult-use provision challenged it in state court by arguing that instead of amending the constitution, Amendment A was a “revision” to the constitution.

In February, Hughes County Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger ruled the adult-use provision invalid. Supporters appealed the decision, but didn’t wait around for a verdict. They began gathering signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative, in case they failed in court.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind last year’s cannabis legalization push, announced yesterday that a new initiative has been approved for signature gathering.

Campaign Director Matthew Schweich issued the following press release:

Pierre, SD — Today, the South Dakota Secretary of State approved a proposed 2022 cannabis legalization ballot initiative for signature gathering. The proposed ballot initiative, backed by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML), is a statutory cannabis legalization initiative that would make personal cannabis possession and cultivation legal for adults aged 21 and over. 

To qualify for the 2022 ballot, SDBML must collect just under 17,000 valid signatures from South Dakota voters by November 8, 2021. 

At the 2020 Election, 54% of South Dakota voters approved Amendment A, a constitutional cannabis legalization initiative. However, since then, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has orchestrated a taxpayer-funded lawsuit that has suspended implementation of the law. The case is currently before the South Dakota Supreme Court. The hearing was on April 28 but a ruling has still not been issued. 

In 2020, 70% of South Dakota voters also approved Measure 26, a medical cannabis law, making South Dakota the first state to approve recreational and medical cannabis reform at the same time.

Statement from Matthew Schweich, SDBML campaign director:

“We remain hopeful that Amendment A will be restored by the South Dakota Supreme Court. However, the November 8 deadline for 2022 ballot qualification is quickly approaching, and we have no choice but to launch a signature drive.

“In the coming days, we will be distributing petitions to volunteers all across the state and announcing signing locations where voters can easily sign our petitions. We have less than a month to collect the signatures we need, but our supporters are very energized. They are deeply frustrated by Governor Noem’s decision to launch a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against Amendment A, the lack of a ruling in the case, and Governor Noem’s failed attempt to severely delay the implementation of Measure 26.

“We originally filed five potential ballot initiatives, but we are choosing to move forward with the short statutory legalization initiative because it is the most likely to withstand any future legal challenges.”
 
Helpful links:

SDBML website: https://www.southdakotamarijuana.org/

More information about the Amendment A lawsuit: https://www.southdakotamarijuana.org/lawsuit

The initiative text and related documents can be accessed here: https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/upcoming-elections/general-information/2022-ballot-questions.aspx
 

# # #

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) is a registered South Dakota statewide ballot question committee working to establish better marijuana laws for the people of South Dakota. SDBML led the campaign that passed Amendment A and Measure 26 in 2020, played a central role in the grassroots campaign to defend Measure 26 during the legislative session earlier this year, and provided fundraising and communications support to the Amendment A legal defense campaign.


  • Opinion: It’s time for action on adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania
    National and local surveys of voters continue to reflect overwhelming support for legalization. Cannabis consumers are no longer asking for permission, instead we are demanding REAL reform at the ballot box. Politicians who make grand promises of cannabis reform should be on notice to start making good, or start looking for jobs in the private sector.
  • Virginia seals 64,000 marijuana distribution charges
    Officials said the records were scrubbed from the state’s criminal record database, which is used by employers like school boards, state agencies and local governments to screen employees.
  • Charlie Crist vows to push for legalizing cannabis as governor
    At a press conference in the state capital, Crist argued that the criminalization of marijuana has negatively impacted Floridians, therefore, he will push for “expungement of all existing charges and sentences for misdemeanors and third-degree felonies for marijuana possession.”
  • Nevada program to help BIPOC cannabis industry applicants
    Nevada’s cannabis rush following the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana saw the rise of another multibillion dollar industry that is predominantly owned and managed by white men. 
  • Judge blocks residency rule for Missouri medical cannabis licenses
    A federal judge last week permanently blocked Missouri from enforcing a requirement that medical marijuana licenses go to businesses owned by residents of the state.
  • SD adult-use cannabis initiative approved to gather signatures
    South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind last year’s cannabis legalization push, announced yesterday that a new initiative has been approved for signature gathering.
  • Cannabis “tipping point” close, says Marijuana Policy Project head
    During a recent phone interview, Hawkins told Profiles in Legalization that he thinks half of U.S. states fully legalizing cannabis might be the “tipping point” into an end to federal cannabis prohibition.
  • Virginia medical cannabis patients see high prices and long waits
    Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform Marijuana Laws, noted the state’s decision to limit the program to five producers, who are only allowed to operate in the specific region of the state in which they are licensed.
  • MS activists rally around the state for medical cannabis laws
    House and Senate negotiators dickered most of the summer on a plan to replace the medical marijuana program the high court shot down. Reeves had said that if lawmakers could reach an agreement, he would call them into special session to pass it.
  • Michigan lawmakers blast integrity of cannabis market, caregivers oppose regulations
    by Marla R. Miller, Michigan Advance When Tanya Kaye’s granddaughter, Anastasia, began having seizures shortly after birth, doctors recommended controlling them with phenobarbital, a barbiturate that slows the activity of the brain and nervous system. Kaye, 40, a medical marijuana caregiver and certified cannabis consultant from Clio, was worried about side effects and developmental delays…